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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh) . - As it is the intention of 'the Government to put through the works and buildings E stirmates to-night, I merely wish to say that wherever the expenditure of a large sum is involved, it should be very closely scrutinized, especially in view of the great change of opinion which: is coming over the minds of many in regard to our defences. We are all anxious to place the Commonwealth upon a proper footing, so far as its defence is concerned, but the question which arises is whether it would not be wise to expend upon our naval forces some of the large sums of money which are now being expended upon our land forces. Upon these Estimates a large amount is set down for the purchase of Lee-Enfield rifles. Most honorable members must have noticed in the press the other day the statement that the rifles which the Commonwealth has been purchasing are not satisfactory. Personally I have no desire to sanction the expenditure of a large sum for the purchase of defective rifles. We know very well that such weapons have been sent out to Australia in very large quantities. When the opportunity presents itself of discussing the Estimates of the Defence Department, I shall have something more to say upon this question.

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